Walking is integral to strategies to promote physical activity. We identified socio-demographic variations in walking for transport, and for recreation or exercise.
Representative population data (n = 3392) from Australia were collected using computer assisted telephone interviewing, to examine adults’ participation in moderate- or brisk-paced walking for transport and walking for recreation or exercise; walking “sufficient” to meet the current public health guideline (≥ 150 min/wk); and, the contributions of total walking to meeting the guideline for total physical activity.
Rates of sufficient walking for transport (10% for men, 9% for women) were lower than those for walking for recreation or exercise (14% for both genders). Few socio-demographic differences emerged. Men over age 60 y were significantly less likely (OR = 0.40) to walk for transport; men age 45 to 59 y were more likely (OR = 1.56) to walk for recreation or exercise. Walking contributed more toward meeting the current public health guideline among women (15% to 21%) than among men (6% to 8%).
There is potential for socially equitable increases in participation, through a focus on both walking for transport and on walking for recreation or exercise; attention to gender differences would be helpful.